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Ten years after the last major numbered chapter of the Shin Megami Tensei series—Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne—Atlus is set to release their next demonic offering. In Shin Megami Tensei IV, you play the role of an 18-year-old resident of East Mikado, who joins up with a group of demon-hunting warriors.
Look, I’m biased here—put “Shin Megami Tensei” on the cover of a game, and I’m already interested. Part of the reason for that is the utterly fascinating mix of character development and unique atmosphere these games typically bring with them, and Shin Megami Tensei IV looks to be no exception.
What struck me most about this game was how it doesn’t feel compromised being on the small screen of the 3DS. For first-person dungeons crawlers like Soul Hackers or the DS’ Strange Journey, playing on a portable does little to cheapen the experience. (And, really, with the dual screens providing the ability to always have a map visible, they can often be the superior platform for the genre.)
Shin Megami Tensei IV is far more in like with bigger console adventures like Nocturne—and in my time with it so far, I’m more than okay with how it plays. As you control the main character, you’ll be exploring a fully 3D-rendered world that feels desolate and unwelcoming. Once you’ve hopped into battle, you’ll then switch to a classic-feeling first-person battle system, where victory will only come by befriending demons and then using your new partners wisely.
The one other element that really stands out in Shin Megami Tensei IV is the story. We’re initially introduced to what feels like a more ancient era of Japan, but then strange examples of futuristic technology show up from time to time. What exactly is going on, and what twists will players encounter as they traverse the game’s story? I still have few answers in that regard, but I’m sure as hell looking forward to finding out what those answers are.